BASSETERRE, St Kitts, CMC – James Hildreth stroked the first century of the Regional First Class Championship as England Lions dominated Leeward Islands on the opening day of their first round clash at Warner Park on Friday.
The 26-year-old carved out a handsome unbeaten 127 to help fire the Lions to 320 for three after they won the toss and batted in excellent conditions.
Rarely bothered by the varied Leewards attack, Hildreth counted 13 fours in a chanceless knock that required 195 balls and spanned exactly five hours.
At the close, he was involved in a fine, unbroken fourth wicket stand of 186 with James Taylor whose 79 has so far included eight fours and lasted 141 balls and 191 minutes.
Opener Adam Lyth, who hit 55 off 71 balls with eight fours, put on 36 for the first wicket with Jimmy Adams who lived a charmed life before falling lbw to leg-spinner Anthony Martin for five.
Dropped twice before he had scored – by Tonito Willett at square leg off seamer Lionel Baker at eight without loss and by Omari Banks at gully off pacer Gavin Tonge at 30 without loss – Adams’ misery ended when he offered no stroke to one that straightened.
Lyth followed when he slapped a wide, short delivery from medium pacer Willett to Banks at cover, to leave the Lions on 73 for two.
Ravi Bopara and Hildreth then posted 61 for the third wicket before Bopara perished to a fine diving catch by wicketkeeper Devon Thomas off Tonge at 134 for three.
Hildreth was unflappable, however, and reached three figures with a beautiful on drive for four off Martin.